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Librarian’s passion is in working with children

Jade Praus knew she always wanted to work with children. But somehow instead of becoming a teacher after graduating with an elementary education degree she landed a position as the Dickinson Area Public Library.

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Jade Praus knew she always wanted to work with children. But somehow instead of becoming a teacher after graduating with an elementary education degree she landed a position as the Dickinson Area Public Library.

"I love where I am," she said. "I really love working with the kids-that's where my passion is. It didn't matter what I was teaching but even when I taught I loved doing read-alongs with the kids and talking about what we had read."

Praus is the children's librarian and has youth programs for ages 0 to 17.

Tiny Tots, ages zero to three, meet Mondays from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and preschool, ages three to five meet Tuesdays 10:30 to 11 a.m. and on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. Teens, ages 11 to 17, meet on Tuesdays starting at 3:30 p.m. in the community room.

Praus said that most of her time consists of planning and preparing for the activities for the youth programs.

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"A normal day ... I don't know if there is ever a normal day," she said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm just running around. It's a lot of planning and prep."

Tiny Tots will have storytime, fingerplays, music and dancing-parents are required to sit with their child during this time.

Preschool will also include storytime, arts and crafts, music and activities.

Praus said that it's not uncommon for 40 children to show up in that age group.

The teen group, usually has snacks and a craft. Crafts in December include CD ornaments and gingerbread houses.

"The teens are an interesting group because they are really excited about the things that they are interested in," Praus said. "They are kind of open to new things but when you find out what they are interested in, it's like they totally open up about it and super excited about it."

Her enthusiasm is something that was noticed by Rita Ennen, the library director, while Praus worked at the library through college.

"We love her energy and enthusiasm," she said. "She is so full of ideas and always so ready to try something new."

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So when the position opened up in June for a new children's librarian, Ennen said it was an easy decision.

"We knew her already, she has worked here part time and she worked with the children's librarian so we knew of her interest and skills," she said. "It seemed like a good fit. In the case of Jade, someone with an elementary education background is exactly what we are looking for."

Praus said that she took some of what she learned in college and implemented it and sometimes it was just making it fun for the kids that show up.

"It's all about the kids," she said. "I do things that they are interested in and like the book monster over here, I did that for the little kids because book drop they didn't get but it's like 'OK, you are feeding the monster the books.''

She said she also knows the importance of giving children positive experiences with books and reading.

"They don't realize how important reading is," she said "There are a lot of kids that don't like reading but if you can start from a young age and get them excited about books and reading, it just takes off from there."

While some of the younger children enjoy picture books, she also helps the other children figure out where their interest in reading is.

"They just need to find the right book and then they are going to love reading after that book because they are going to be hooked," she said.

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Ennen said that Praus' job isn't as simple as some might thing.

"It's not babysitting," she said.

Praus said, for her, she gets excited to see children being immersed in reading.

"When they are this little you can get them so excited about reading and even if it's just the pictures that they are excited about, they don't get it but they are picking up on small things, like 'Oh you have to turn the page to keep going,'" she said. "They are just little sponges, they'll pull everything because they are excited about all of this new knowledge that they are getting."

December events will involve all of the normal youth programs with a few special events throughout the month.

Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. there will be a drive-in movie for the tiny-tots where children can eat and drink in plastic tub cars while watching Mickey's Christmas Carol. On Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m. there will be a family holiday movie where families are encouraged to come to the library and watch Holiday Inn, drink hot chocolate or hot cider and eat popcorn.

The Grinch will also be making an appearance and the librarians will be dressed up as whoovians.

"I'm excited for December because we have so many things coming up," she said.

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